What will the adoption of AR in shopping look like?

Just a few years ago augmented reality was a “cool idea”, a fleeting suggestion, a thing of the future. But now, AR is well on its way to becoming a reality, especially as more and more forward thinking brands are incorporating AR technology within their shopping experience offering. While the possibilities of AR technology seem endless, we’ve put together a few popular ways retailers are harnessing the power of AR to create a more interactive shopping experience, boost sales and enhance the overall shopping experience.


Beacons, beacons, beacons!

The first step retailers are taking towards enhancing the in-store experience is by deploying beacons to bridge the gap between online shopping and physical experiences. Beacons are small wireless devices which continuously transmit radio signals and gather data throughout the store. These beacons can use geolocation at micro levels, such as a specific aisle, in order to push personalised content to customers, such as a notification about a current sale or offer. This kind of information can be used to segment customers more accurately and advertise according to their location, behaviour and needs.

Robots!

Robotics have made huge progress in the last few years, with great cases in customer service, inventory management and delivery services throughout the retail industry. Drawing customers attention to the store, greeting them in multiple languages, improving the use of storage space, keeping track of inventory and guiding customers on premises are just a few of the ways robots are playing a significant role in retail. Furthermore, the data gathered by robots is compiled and analysed to provide improvement and recommendations to large retailers, enhancing the shopping experience even more.

Smart apps and mirrors.

Retailers and app developers are now using AI, VR and gesture recognition technology to help you in your search for the perfect product. Smart mirrors transform into virtual changing rooms where you can place clothing over your onscreen image, try on different items and compare complete outfits without getting undressed. In a sense, this brings the ease of online shopping into the tangible world of instore shopping experiences. This can save you time, energy and can be an overall fun experience, while retailers can measure the items with the highest conversion rate to improve sales.
In this new wave of technology, stores are empowered to behave like websites, while websites are pushed to behave like stores - through digital overlays, augmented reality and artificial intelligence work to allow you to see the look, size, colour, shape of a product in the comfort of your own home. IKEA, for example, allows you to place true-to-scale 3D furniture in your home using only your camera, so you can see exactly how the items can look before you purchase! Lacoste allowed customers to use their app to virtually try on shoes. The app also created AR experiences with window displays, in-store signage, and promotional postcards, so customers could get the best out of their shopping experience in-store too.

Auto-checkout.

The future of payments looks very different to how we pay right now; while self-checkout has been on the scene for a while, the next step in payments will be simply walking out of the store with your items already being scanned and the total charged to your account as you leave. There will be no need to queue, scan or deal with grumpy front-line employees.. Or maybe its this kind of human interaction, which is important for the whole shopping experience? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram!


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